Monday 21 March 2022


 I've been busy since I last updated! 

We took Sophie to Vancouver Island for her big adventure last Friday. She was excellent for the trip. It's only about 20 minutes of driving on each side but the ferry is a solid 1.5hr journey. If you add in the time loading/unloading on the ferry and waiting at the terminal the horses are on the trailer about 3 hours. She normally hauls well, but I still never quite take it for granted and am ready for the unexpected.

She went into heat/full mare-y mare mode when she arrived, but that's why she's there - it's very hard for us here to get out and do a lot of different things and pony finds new things exciting and distracting. There's one outdoor venue we trailer to, one indoor, and generally the same horse or two to see at each and a fairly quiet and predictable routine. For more anxious and busy minded ponies like Sophie I think a little more exposure to the outside world is a good thing. 

It sounds like cowboy trainer is happy to drag her along to some of the events he goes to, so she'll have practice tying the trailer in a busy place and going in a warm up arena. It sounds like an upcoming adventure might be to a barrel race night, which, honestly, I am happy isn't me. Mostly, though, she's there to hit the trails and generally just get more miles in the real world - I'm not expecting to get back a pony with better flatwork or anything like that, hopefully just one that's a little more confident in new situations and ready to get out to a couple of shows or bigger clinics or group trail rides this year without finding it too stressful.

I'm not sure when we're picking her up - maybe as soon as 2 weeks, maybe as long as a month. It just depends on schedules and how the trainer feels things are going. Let's hope Sophie's the same good girl there that she always is and processes all the new things in a really positive way.

Bridget has been having a really tough time with Sophie gone. I'm not sure how I'll ever wean a foal - I felt horrible when we pulled in the driveway that evening and Bridget realized Sophie was not with us. Days later, I pull in the driveway and she is still looking for the trailer and Sophie. She's not super dramatic about it, just her quiet Bridget self saying hi to me then wandering off to whinny towards the driveway or my truck to check I didn't bring Sophie. It almost makes me feel more guilty! B never makes friends or overly cares what other horses do, so I half assumed she'd be relieved to have a break from managing Sophie (who is just the biggest pest ever).

Trail riding with friends

I miss Sophie too, but there is a lot to be said for feeding and mucking out one pony - especially Bridget. With them being in the same paddock for so long now I forgot just how easy B is. My husband clocked how neat and tidy Bridget keeps things and is ready to sell Sophie, lol. It's become undeniably obvious the big mess of holes and trampled poo we were faced with every morning is entirely of Sophie's making, along with the random destruction of items and the frequent bonus poo in the water tub. 

B's off for her own adventure in a couple of months, but for now we're just going to enjoy a week or three of quiet evening trail rides. I want to hit the ground running with Sophie when she gets back to continue the outings and positive progression with her, so this feels a little like the calm before the storm.


Friday 11 March 2022

Daylight FTW

 Just a tiny celebration of the fact the days are now long enough to fit in decent rides after work!

The clocks change this weekend to give us another bonus hour so basically yay! daylight! now until November.

"All the better to see you with" says B, continually in search of the next morsel of food.

I already fit in 3 rides (soon to be 4) around work hours this week, and isn't that just the best thing?

I did sneak away a little early Wednesday afternoon to trailer to the arena, but we fit in a 1.5hr trail ride after work yesterday with zero worries about it getting too dark.

Look who goes by herself and chills at the trailer! I'd be lying if I said she's this good about it every day, but she's getting pretty good.

I've always liked slow trail riding over terrain as a non stressful method for getting ponies fitter. I have to say my body appreciated it this year as well. I guess I'm not young anymore, because the first rides back after a two and a half months off were rough despite regular gym, yoga and hiking keeping me otherwise active. Remind me of that next winter when I think I could take a riding break!

Sophie's had a couple of easy rides this week. I don't think she's ready to tackle the trails B and I have been frequenting (lots of bikes, people, loose dogs, part of it goes through a busy park and disc golf course and she's not the most confident trail horse) but I am hoping once she gets back from the island and has seen more of the world it's something we can start to do.

 For now, we've been sticking to our rides in the big outdoor arena, incorporating lots of big swoopy curves and changes of direction. I hit a bit of a snag this week where she got a bit fussy again in the contact and generally unwilling to go forward into it without either dragging me or sucking back and kicking at my leg (no happy medium, apparently)  but that's on me and my lack of  consistency this winter. Also, we don't turn left horse rides really do absolutely nothing for your self belief as a rider, lol.

Some fun portrait editing

It's coming, though. At a snail's pace, but it's coming. I messed up the Pivo videoing (not following me again AND in portrait mode - I will never remember that it doesn't save my previous settings, it seems) but the bits I did manage to view didn't look as bad as it felt and restored a little of my faith in my abilities.

Let me again overwhelm you with my excellent media

Anyway, it's time for me to leave for a ride. Enjoy your weekends!



Sunday 6 March 2022

Shape Up (And) Ship Out

  Sophie’s got her trail riding ‘vacation’ coming up in a couple of weeks (how is time moving so quickly again?) so the push is on to re civilize her and turn her back into a proper riding pony before she heads out. Cowboy guy is obviously well capable of dealing with a sassy pony, but I really would like her to be able to just go off on lots of trail adventures when she gets there rather than having to spend time in remedial pony school. 

It’s also that time of year when I start getting all the finalized show and clinic schedules and start feeling extra sad I don’t have a pony ready to go and that I live in such an isolated area with limited local opportunities.

This is all good though, it lights a bit more of a fire under me to out there and put the hours in. I’ve probably been far too careful, taking almost a month to get her back to the base level where we left off with in December, but as always I feel extra careful with Sophie given her still a little immature self. Plus there are the challenges I had this winter keeping weight and muscle on her that make me feel like I started at zero and want to be very aware of building correct muscle and fitness back.

Little blanket rubs I didn’t notice IRL showed up in this picture. We’ll take that as a positive in that she’s filled out enough to start to outgrow her blanket? 

Given the trail riding adventure we’ll miss the first dressage clinic of the year but we’re back to a monthly schedule now so there are a lot more lessons upcoming and I’m hoping to fit in an online dressage test before end of month.

My work has now started recalling people to work in the office so I’m going to be making a commute from hell a few times a month. I imagine I’ll eventually get tired of that, but for now this is horse related in a positive way. If I need to travel again anyway…can I can bring Sophie along for further lessons or show opportunities? 
B is getting fitter.

I’m an adult and the temptation to gallop across the soccer field is still strong 

Bridget this week has just been the same as always. We’ve been getting out trail riding a few times a week and she is getting fitter. She’s been so fun and full of energy that I had the momentary thought of putting her back into proper work, but her boarding and vet appts for breeding are booked for May, which is approaching very quickly. It’s time for Sophie to step up and take on the majority of my “serious” pony riding goals :)

It’s going to be fun to see what she can do this year.